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Westside Update: EPIC Before Ninth Circuit to Defend Owl, Coho Habitat

EPIC was back in court on Tuesday before to stop the Westside Timber Sale, a series of clearcuts totaling around 6,000 acres on steep and unstable slopes above the Klamath River near Happy Camp, CA. EPIC was before the Ninth Circuit challenging the denial of a temporary restraining order sought last spring. Logging has continued all summer, resulting in the destruction of northern spotted owl habitat. There is no timetable for a decision.

While much of the logging may be completed before a court ever rules on the merits of the case, EPIC is committed to seeing this litigation through. The Westside Timber Sale sets a dangerous precedent, especially as we expect illegal logging projects like Westside to increase under a Trump administration.

EPIC filed this lawsuit because of concerns to wildlife, including the northern spotted owl, coho salmon, and the Pacific fisher. The logging will destroy northern spotted owl habitat, resulting in the “take” of up to 103 owls—2% of the total species population. Logging will result in more sediment being released into the already overloaded Klamath River. Karuk fisheries experts have testified that they believe that the logging could result in the localized extinction of coho salmon in the mid-Klamath watershed. Logging is also set to take the large trees that the Pacific fisher needs. EPIC is currently in litigation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its failure to protect the fisher under the Endangered Species Act as the fisher is in continued decline because of logging projects like Westside.


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